Sweetening the potential for decent work. A market systems analysis of the honey sector in the Republic of Moldova

With funding from the British Embassy Chisinau through the UK’s Good Governance Fund, the ILO was tasked to conduct a market systems analysis of the honey sector in the Republic of Moldova. The aim of this study was to better understand the market constraints that limit job creation, higher incomes and greater productivity within the sector, particularly in relation to women and people with disabilities. The study identifies a practical set of evidence-informed actions that address and remove those constraints.

The Republic of Moldova has a long history of honey production. Despite its relatively small size, the sector is growing: total annual production of honey has doubled over the last 20 years, while exports increased in value by a factor of ten in the eight years from 2011 to 2019. Of strategic importance for the country in this regard is access to European markets, with honey being one of the only animal-based products currently allowed to be exported to the European Union.

In terms of the target group, only 8 per cent of the total number of registered apiaries are owned by women. While many more women are involved in the honey sector in other ways, this relatively low level of ownership is a key limiting factor to improving income and job quality for women. Similarly, despite the lack of readily available data on persons with disabilities in the honey sector, the research suggests that considerable efforts should be made to foster greater inclusion through proactive measures to integrate them into employment.

Based on the analysis of the honey market system, the key market constraints include: 1) low productivity of the sector; 2) high mortality of bee families; 3) limited access to technology and infrastructure; 4) underdeveloped education and research; 5) low access to finance; and 6) limited value addition. The report outlines a potential intervention strategy to address these six key market constraints, with a total of eight recommendations divided across three broad intervention areas.